Recently my daughter asked if I would show her my wedding dress. I honestly couldn’t remember the last time I opened up the specially preserved box and looked at it, definitely several years.
I knew the dress was hand made in England, but I couldn’t remember the designer’s name. It is a gorgeous champagne silk organza, with buttons all the way down the back. Real buttons which you have to fasten and unfasten one by one, which my maid of honor (and husband) can attest to.
There is also a corset inside, which was good and bad. Good to suck in my tummy, bad because I almost passed out at the alter. We were married in a beautiful Catholic basilica on a 97 degree hot humid summer day in Chicago. And my dress had long sleeves. They were sheer silk, but they were long. But I didn’t care, I had to have the dress after the first time I saw it in a bridal magazine. It reminded me of Grace Kelly’s wedding dress minus the lace. I knew I wanted something timeless and classic.
I didn’t want to look back at my wedding pictures some day, laugh and wince at my bad taste. The strapless trend was in full steam and would have been more comfortable for a summer wedding, but I supposed I wanted to stand out, and stay somewhat traditional.
Being married in Chicago, I was fortunate to have the bridal department of the original Marshall Field’s flagship store at my disposal. The building was constructed in 1892.
Looking back, it seems fitting that I purchased my bridal gown at the same place where I would go shopping with my family growing up, where we would look at the Christmas display windows outside and have ice cream sundaes at the Crystal Palace inside. That building holds a lot of history for the city of Chicago, and for me. It was a sad day for many when Macy’s took over Marshall Field’s in 2006, and it has never been the same since.
Getting back to the designer, I discovered on the tag sewn inside that it was Jasper Conran for Caroline Castigliano.
So I did some research. Turns out Mr. Conran is a well known British designer who was in the running for making Kate Middleton’s wedding dress! Which, by the way, was also similar to Grace Kelly’s, although he did not design it.
Jasper Conran was a favorite of Princess Diana and made the wedding gown for Lady Sarah Chatto, Princess Margaret’s daughter. The bottom of the dress and the sleeves are very reminiscent of my dress.
Who knew?! I just remember loving my dress, and the fact that I had to wait almost one year for it to arrive from England made it all the more exciting at the time. I honestly can’t remember trying on any other dresses. It was love at first sight and there was no reason to look further.
My daughter oohed and aahed when she saw the dress and said she wants to wear it when she gets married. Nothing would make me happier, although I have a feeling her opinion might change if and when the time comes. Either way, I will always adore that dress. You truly know the right one when you find it, and I love the history associated with mine.
If you think you might love the dress too, I did find one on consignment online.. just click on the photo for the link to it.